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INDORE: Free Press in association with Sri Aurobindo Institute of Medical Science honours The Corona Warriors – Free Press Journal

Posted: January 23, 2021 at 7:54 pm

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Updated on : Saturday, January 23, 2021, 6:58 PM IST

Chief guests IG Harinarayanachari Mishra, MGM Medical College dean Dr Sanjay Dixit, SAIMS chairman Dr Vinod Bhandari, cardiologist Dr A K Pancholia inaugurating the function at Free Press House on SaturdayFP pic

Indore: Free Press and Sri Aurobindo Institute of Medical Science (SAIMS) felicitated doctors who led the way by getting vaccinated and dispelled the myth surrounding it. About 70 doctors were present at the function organised at Free Press House on Saturday. They shared their views post vaccination and encouraged others for it.

The chief guests at the function were IGP Harinarayanachari Mishra, MGM Medical College dean Dr Sanjay Dixit, SAIMS chairman Dr Vinod Bhandari and cardiologist Dr A K Pancholia.

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INDORE: Free Press in association with Sri Aurobindo Institute of Medical Science honours The Corona Warriors - Free Press Journal

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January 23rd, 2021 at 7:54 pm

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Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu addresses the Officer Trainees attending at MCR HRD Institute, Hyderabad – India Education Diary

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New Delhi: Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu today called upon the youth to take inspiration from the life of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and work for eradication of poverty, illiteracy, social and gender discrimination, corruption, casteism and communalism.

The Vice President made these remarks while addressing the Officer Trainees attending the Foundation Course at MCR HRD Institute, Hyderabad on the occasion of 125th Birth Anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose which is being celebrated as Parakram Diwas across the country.

Noting that 65 percent of our population is below 35 years of age, Shri Naidu said that the youth should lead from the front in building a New India a happy and prosperous India where every citizen gets equal opportunities and where there is no discrimination of any kind.

Terming Parakram or courage as the most defining feature of Netajis persona, the Vice President lauded the Governments decision to celebrate Netajis birthday as PARAKRAM DIWAS to inspire people of the country.

Paying rich tributes to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, he said that Netaji was a charismatic leader and one of the most towering personalities of the freedom movement who believed that for Indias progress, we need to rise above the caste, creed, religion and region and consider ourselves as Indians first.

Referring to the pivotal role played by Subhas Chandra Bose and several freedom fighters, social reformers, including unsung heroes from different regions, he said that many people were not aware of their greatness as the contributions made by them were not properly projected in the history books. We have to celebrate the lives of many of our great leaders. We have to come out of the colonial mindset, he asserted.

Shri Naidu said, It is said that the increasing loyalty of the Indian Armed Forces towards their motherland hastened the process of the British departure from India. Observing that different leaders approached the freedom movement in different ways, the Vice President said the ultimate goal of all them was to achieve Indias freedom from colonial rule.

Highlighting that Netaji wanted abolition of the caste system in India, Shri Naidu said that as far back as in the 1940s, soldiers of all castes, creeds and religions lived together, ate together in common kitchens and fought as Indians first and last. Netaji always used to stress that the progress of India would be possible only with the uplift of the down-trodden and the marginalized sections, he said.

Recalling that Shri Bose stood against injustice in every form right from his school days, the Vice President mentioned about the influence of the teachings of Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo on him. Shri Naidu said this spirituality became a source of inner strength.

Noting that Netajis democratic ideals were based on the principles of sacrifice and renunciation, the Vice President said that Shri Bose wanted the citizens to imbibe the values of discipline, responsibility, service and patriotism for democracy to thrive in free India.

Shri Naidu said that the true spirit of Nationalism is about working for the welfare of all the citizens in the country.

The Vice President also said that Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose always took pride in Indias civilizational values and rich cultural heritage, which he felt formed the bedrock of our national pride and collective self-confidence.

Shri Naidu said that Netaji not only wanted emancipation from political bondage but also believed in equal distribution of wealth, abolition of caste barriers and social inequalities.

Listing the qualities of Netajis inspiring leadership, the Vice President said that with his magical presence, he could enthuse and turn the soldiers who were Prisoners of War into Freedom Fighters and they became ready to fight till last breath for their dear leader and for their motherland. Shri Naidu said that Netaji and Azad Hind Fauj captured peoples imagination as was evident in the popular support received by them during the trial of INA prisoners by British authorities. Consequently, the Britishers had to take a lenient view of INA soldiers, he said.

The Vice President underlined that Shri Bose believed in giving equal pedestal to women in every sphere of life- be it social, economic, or political. Progressiveness of Netajis ideas can be gauged from his decision to form a womens corps in INA named Rani of Jhansi Regiment, he said and appreciated the Governments decision to provide Permanent Commission for the women in Armed Forces.

Mentioning Netajis belief that education was essential for character building and all-round development of human life, Shri Naidu called for revamping our methods of teaching and pedagogy for meaningful education and for India to emerge as an education hub and knowledge-based economy.

Shri Harpreet Singh, Director General of MCR HRD Institute, Shri Benhur Mahesh Dutta Ekka, Additional Director General of the Institute, faculty, staff and Officer Trainees were among those present at the event.

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Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu addresses the Officer Trainees attending at MCR HRD Institute, Hyderabad - India Education Diary

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January 23rd, 2021 at 7:54 pm

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Top 10 Must-read Books by Indian authors – The Statesman

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Books are the best companion in every situation. They are the gateway to a whole different world. Reading books is like taking a deep dive into authors creative vessels of creations. A creation that churns out from an individuals own life experiences and knowledge. The world is full of such beautiful and interesting works of art. And, it takes a deeper dive to find extraordinary pearls from the ocean.

India is known for its rich and incredible culture. After every ten miles of a journey in India brings to you a different dialect, language, style, and taste. Indian literature in itself is pretty ancient and versatile. However, English Indian literature is not very old as it took off in 1930 with the work of the writers like Henry Louis Vivian Derozio and Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Rabindranath Tagore, and Sri Aurobindo, followed by R. K. Narayan, Mulk Raj Anand, and Raja Rao.

Here we share a list of the works from globally-acclaimed Indian writers, who have lately written in the English language to share their intellectual gifts with the world. This reading may help you in your reading journey by expanding your horizons a little further.

Set in contemporary India, Arvind Adigas Man-Booker-Prize-winning debut novel has humorously captured the unspoken voice of many who live in the darkness. The novel describes Indias class struggle in a darkly humorous perspective through a retrospective narration from Balram Halwai, a village boy. The novel has made it to the New York Times bestseller list. At the age of 33, he was the second youngest writer. Adiga said, his novel attempt to catch the voice of the men you meet as you travel through India the voice of the colossal underclass.

A 1954 novel by Kamala Markandaya, the book is set in India during a period of intense urban development. The title of the novel, Nectar in a Sieve is taken from the 1825 poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Work Without Hope. The novel is narrated by Rukmani, a woman from rural and impoverished India, who gets married to Nathan, a tenant farmer at the age of 12.

In the novel, the author describes the chronicle of her marriage till her husband dies. Rukmani comments, Change I had known before, and it had been gradual. But the change that now came into my life, into all our lives, blasting its way into our village, seemed wrought in the twinkling of an eye.

When a fictional book is written by a renowned scholar, a former international diplomat, who himself is serving as a member of the Indian Parliament since 2009, then surely the outcome must be exciting.

The book, published in 1956 recreates and recasts the Hindu epic, Mahabharata in line with Indias political struggle for independence from Great Britain. The post-independence period has also been discussed with great satire depicting the weaknesses of Indians and the agony of British rulers.

Written by an Indian author, lawyer, diplomat, journalist, and politician. This historical novel was released in 1956. The work highlights the events of the great partition of British India. The book focuses more on the plight of people who had to migrate from Pakistan to India or vis-a-vis.

The events have been described in the light of human loss and its horrors that has been faced by many. The blame cannot be put in ones basket.

Muslims said the Hindus had planned and started the killing. According to the Hindus, the Muslims were to blame. The fact is, both sides were killed. Both shot and stabbed and speared and clubbed. Both tortured. Both raped

The work is led and narrated by a woman character, Draupadi from the Hindu epic, Mahabharata. Booklist, a publication of the American Library Association summarizes the plot as Smart, resilient, and courageous Panchaali, born of fire, marries all five of the famously heroic Pandava brothers, harbors a secret love, endures a long exile in the wilderness, instigates a catastrophic war, and slowly learns the truth about Krishna, her mysterious friend.

Love comes like lightning and disappears the same way. If you are lucky, it strikes you right. If not, youll spend your life yearning for a man you cant have.

Written in 1958, like R.K Narayans other works, the novel is set in a fictional town in South India, Malgudi. The book had been crafted into a Bollywood movie, casting great actor, Dev Anand.

Its a story of a tour guide, who initially was corrupt, with his life experiences and events, he gradually became a spiritual guide and later the greatest holy man. For this work of fiction, Narayan won the 1960 Sahitya Akademi Award for English, by the Sahitya Akademi, Indias National Academy of Letters.

But you are not my wife. You are a woman who will go to bed with anyone who flatters your antics. Thats

A novel released in 1984 was set in Delhi, India, and written by Indian American Author Anita Desai. The novel was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1984 as well. The works main character Devan leads an ordinary mundane life, and how he finds meaning in his life. The book is a sensitive portrayal of human nature. A brilliant story describing the gradual loss of the graduality of culture and tradition in the face of modernity. The work highlights the complexity of human relationships in the quest for individuality.

The Booker Prize winner novel expresses the childhood difficulties of two fraternal twins, along with their parents and their extended family. The book narrates how small things affect our behaviors and lives. Indian writer and activist, Roys first novel expose the caste system and more deep-rooted problems of Indian culture.

Published in 1993, the novel is one of the longest novels published in a single volume. It is one of the acclaimed works of Vikram Seth, set in the post-partition and after-independence era in India. The work details the life of four families and covers various aspects of the time through the lead role of Latta, whose mother is keen to find a suitable boy for her daughter. Her character depicts how women were and even till today are not free to make independent choices.

The novel describes the story of four extraordinary lives. The work has the potential to create an impact that will stay for a longer period of time even when you have finished reading the book. It is Shanghvis debut novel, which can emancipate deep human emotions of the feelings of joy and sorrows in anyones heart.

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Top 10 Must-read Books by Indian authors - The Statesman

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January 23rd, 2021 at 7:54 pm

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Theatre of the absurd – The Tribune India

Posted: January 3, 2021 at 12:52 pm

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Is there nothing left in our politics except the recurrence of cinematic performances? In fact, the drama has already begun as the dominant political parties are thinking of their strategies to win the elections in West Bengal in 2021. To begin with, think of Amit Shah supposedly a master strategist who understands the psychology as well as the mathematics of the electoral politics. Possibly, in this media-saturated world, it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish the real from the hyper real. Hence, because of the endless procession of media simulations depicting and disseminating his symbolic gestures as he visits Bengal, we are led to believe that Amit Shah is a great admirer of Rabindranath Tagore; nothing fascinates him more than the company of a baul mystic; and he cant imagine his existence without the ideals Swami Vivekananda preached. Or, for that matter, these days, Narendra Modi seems to be quite fond of quoting Sri Aurobindo, and he is eager to restore the lost glory of Bengal by invoking Netaji Subhas Chandra Boses heroism. In other words, the message is conveyed: none can say that the BJP is an alien organisation, and doesnt understand what Bengal loves: be it Rabindra Sangeet or Ramakrishna Paramahamsas Dakshineswar Kali temple. From hyper-masculine militant nationalists to tender/spiritually sensitive souls with Tagore and Vivekananda as intimate companions: this theatrical act of role playing, it seems, is seen to be a way of charming the Bengali audience. Yes, be prepared for the elections; the stage is ready!

The saffron outfit knows it has to shed its north Indian look and show intimacy with Bengali icons and symbols.

Why is it so? In order to find a meaningful answer to this question, it is important to see the dominant Bengali bhadralok (predominantly, forward caste Hindu) consciousness. Possibly, it would not be entirely wrong to say that this consciousness has not yet been able to free itself from the lost glory of the nineteenth and early twentieth century when Bengal through its renaissance figures from Raja Rammohun Roy to Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, or from Bankim Chandra Chatterjee to Jagadish Chandra Bose witnessed remarkable innovations in the realm of culture, religion and politics. Even though in recent times particularly after the trauma of partition, the influx of the refugees, and the simultaneous economic problem and socio-cultural turmoil Bengal has decayed in almost every sphere, be it education or socio-economic development, the nostalgia remains. And this fixation or, the refusal to come to terms with the new reality in post-Independent India has three consequences.

First, we see some sort of regression: a tendency to stick to the mythical cultural pride with its exclusionary character. Hence, any keen observer of the bhadralok psyche would say that it is not uncommon to see the process of othering non-Bengalis with some sort of negative stereotypes say, the notion that the Marwaris or the Biharis are not the ones who can understand the films of Satyajit Ray and Mrinal Sen; or for that matter, the Gujaratis, it would be argued, know only business; and hence, they cant understand what it meant to be a Rabindranath Tagore or an Amartya Sen. Second, with the passage of time, the engagement with all these Bengali icons, it appears, has been degenerated into mere ritualism: just a process of reaffirmation of the Bengali bhadralok identity. No wonder, Rabindranath Tagore has been reduced into a ritualistic mantra of singing a couple of songs (otherwise, how does one explain the systematic decay of Santiniketan, and spirituality means nothing more than a weekly visit to the Ramakrishna Mission, and listening to the Bengali-speaking monks. And third, the political class has always appropriated and cleverly played with these iconic symbols. For instance, an average Bengali would feel immensely happy if it is said that Netaji was the real hero, and the likes of Gandhi and Nehru betrayed him. Likewise, even the leftists quote selectively from Tagore, and tend to give the impression that the poet was some sort of a Marxist. In fact, be it the centrists, rightists or leftists, there is hardly any political group that will not seek to establish its claim over Tagore, Vivekananda, Kazi Nazrul Islam and Subhas Chandra Bose.

With its triumphant agenda, the BJP too is not lagging behind. It knows that it has to overcome its north Indian look, show its intimacy with all these Bengali icons and symbols, and play the same game of appropriation. Hence, as it is thought, Vivekananda and Tagore ought to be recalled time and again to deprive Mamata Banerjee or, for that matter, bhadralok Marxists of their monopoly over the much-hyped Bengali culture. As this ugly politics of appropriation with its dramaturgical performance becomes the new normal, a severe damage is caused to our ethical and political sensibilities. Imagine Swami Vivekanandas celebrated speech at the Chicago Religious Congress the monks celebration of the Upanishadic message of oneness amid the plurality of paths and traditions; or his urge to transform practical Vedanta into some sort of radical religiosity to create a humane/egalitarian society. Does the BJP understand that the radical monk cannot be fitted into the discourse of militant Hindutva? Or think of Tagore his critique of narcissistic nationalism and the associated psychology of violence, and his poetic universalism as our true religiosity. Will Shah or Modi really contemplate, read the poets Geetanjali or the classic novel Gora, look at themselves, and rethink their politics? Or is it that it is just yet another act of role-playing?

However, the ultimate question is whether you and I can renew our critical faculty, and convey a message to these smart performers that we are not going to be hypnotised by this theatre of the absurd.

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Theatre of the absurd - The Tribune India

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January 3rd, 2021 at 12:52 pm

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India at the Hague, from Savarkar to Jadhav – The Indian Express

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Written by Prabhakar Singh

The year 2020 was historic for being the centenary of the adoption of the Statute of the Permanent Court of International Justice (the PCIJ) in the Hague. The PCIJ complemented the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) that was established in the Hague in 1899. The PCA was established to facilitate arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution between states after the made-in-India expanding Dumdum bullets made the 19th-century European wars untenable. That India has walked hand in hand with the two Hague courts for a century bears reminding.

The Savarkar legend of crossing the sea to escape the British rule was born at the Hague. In 1910, V D Savarkar, a British-Indian subject, escaped British capture to be later detained aboard a British commercial vessel harboured at Marseille, France en route to India. Savarkar was to be tried for abetment of murder. Savarkar swam ashore but was arrested by a brigadier of the French maritime and turned over to the British. The French government, however, disapproved of the manner in which Savarkar was returned to British custody. Paris demanded Savarkars restitution to France on the ground of Savarkars defective extradition. The two governments agreed to submit their dispute to a PCA tribunal. The tribunal concluded that the defective extradition did not result in any obligation on the British government to restore Savarkar to the French. In the same year, Sri Aurobindo, successfully left British India for Pondicherry from Chandernagore, a French enclave in Eastern India. Between two European empires, the PCA made international law an object of imperial convenience.

After World War II, the PCIJ at the Hague became the International Court of Justice (the ICJ). The ICJs role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies. The ICJ is composed of 15 judges, elected for terms of office of nine years by the UN General Assembly and the Security Council. The ICJ as a whole must represent the main forms of civilization and the principal legal systems of the world.

Article 51 of the Constitution of India promotes faith in international law and dispute resolution by arbitration. Sir Benegal Rau, advisor to Indias Constituent Assembly, was appointed as judge to the ICJ in 1952. In 1973, Nagendra Singh became the second ICJ judge from India. President judge Singh presided over the ICJs perhaps the most important case, the Nicaragua case, where the Court ruled against the United States. While the Nicaragua case became the toast of textbooks, the role of the African and Asian judges in creating the precedents that spoke law to power in the middle of the Cold War remains, like things Third World, less acknowledged.

India has strongly believed in the Hague courts for the resolution of disputes despite, as jurist Antony Anghie says, international law and its courts having been complicit in the project of colonisation. In 1958, Portugal sued India at the ICJ for not allowing Lisbon to cross Indian territory with arms to quell nationalist movements in Daman and Diu. The ICJ ruled that Portugal had only a right of civil, not military, passage subject to Indias consent. Taiwanese Judge Wellington Koo had supported the right the passage of Portuguese armed forces, armed police and arms and ammunition. That very year, Cambodia took Thailand to the ICJ to decide the ownership of the Preah Vihear Temple. The ICJ in June 1962 ruled in favour of Cambodia. K Krishna Rao, Indias legal advisor, immediately suggested going to the ICJ for the resolution of the India-China border dispute with the Preah Vihear precedent in mind. Within months, China retaliated on the Himalayas lest India legalises the dispute at the Hague. Most recently, India took the Kulbhushan Jadhav case to the ICJ. Needless to say, India has been a supporter of peaceful international dispute resolution at the Hague.

In November 2020, speaking at the third PCA-India Conference, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla highlighted how upholding of international law is key to Indias diplomacy. India sees both the courts in the Hague helping to promote international law and lawfare. Shringla said India supports the PCA and its mandate to resolve international disputes. The upholding of international law is central to our diplomacy and in fact our world view.

That cannot be said of China, however. Beijing is working overtime to develop a modern tributary system, a Chinese brand of imperialism, with the belt and road initiative to which India is not a party. Shringlas comments become important after Beijing has stood out in disregarding international law including rejecting a PCA award; the South China Sea award given under the UN Law of the Sea. Yet Chinese judges, as part of the ICJ and other international courts, continue to adjudge cases involving other countries.

The end of 2020 marks India investing, between the Savarkar and the Jadhav cases, a century of faith in international law and international dispute resolution.

The writer is Associate Professor & Executive Director, Centre for International Legal Studies, Jindal Global Law School

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India at the Hague, from Savarkar to Jadhav - The Indian Express

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January 3rd, 2021 at 12:52 pm

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Average speed on Delhi roads dropped after rollback of lockdown – The Hindu

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The mean travel speed on some Delhi stretches dipped from 46 kmph during the lockdown period to 29 kmph after it as the reopening of the economy led to a rebound in congestion, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said in a report on Monday.

The report is significant as the level of congestion on roads has a strong bearing on vehicular pollution.

"The rebound of congestion post-lockdown indicates Delhi is not prepared for transformational changes to cut down the volume of traffic," the CSE said.

It tracked this change with the help of data from the Google Mobility Report on different categories of visits classified as retail and recreation, groceries and pharmacies, parks, transit stations, workplaces, and residential.

It also analysed traffic speed data from Google as a proxy to understand the level of congestion that has a strong bearing on vehicular pollution, which is significant in Delhi.

The selected 12 major roads included the MG Road, NH44, Sardar Patel Marg, Outer Ring Road, Dr KB Hegdewar Marg, Sri Aurobindo Marg, NH 9, Mehrauli-Badarpur Road, GT Karnal Rd, Lal Bahadur Sha, Dwarka Marg and Najafgarh Marg.

The CSEs travel speed data analysis shows that the mean travel speed on the selected stretches increased from 24 kmph pre-lockdown to 46 kmph during lockdown a 90% increase when fewer vehicles came on the roads as only essential travels were allowed.

But the mean speed reduced again to 29 kmph post-lockdown, it shows.

During peak hours, the travel speed on the selected stretches increased from 23 kmph pre-lockdown to 44 kmph during lockdown. But this again reduced to 27 km per hour post-lockdown, it says.

The CSE said the rebound of congestion is happening when the public transport ridership in Delhi is still low due to the fear of contracting the virus and the scale of public transport options is still very inadequate to meet the demand.

"Public transport is expected to be further constrained by the social distancing norms. This is already encouraging people to shift to private modes of transport," it said.

"Delhi cannot meet its clean air targets if overall traffic and vehicle numbers are not controlled. Delhi Master Plan 2020-21 had set a target of 80% public transport ridership by 2020 that has been missed," the report reads.

The CSE said an eighty-seven percent drop was recorded in visits to transit stations for different purposes during hard lockdown as compared to the baseline levels or the pre-lockdown phase.

"Trips to grocery stores and pharmacies were reduced by more than 70%, but were still higher than all the other visits, as people were trying to restock and prepare for the lockdown.

"Workplace trips reduced by as much as 65% during the weekdays as work from home was widely practiced The change in traffic pattern has also shown up in the air quality data. In fact, the hourly change in nitrogen oxide levels that are more strongly correlated with the traffic nearly flattened during this period," the CSE said.

"Post-lockdown, the travel pattern was close to normal but did not fully regain the pre-lockdown level. Grocery trips and workplace trips recovered maximum by the end of November and were now only about 15% lower than the pre-lockdown phase," it said.

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January 3rd, 2021 at 12:51 pm

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Sri Aurobindo Sri Aurobindo Sadhana Peetham

Posted: October 11, 2020 at 5:54 pm

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Sri Aurobindo was born in Calcutta on August 15, 1872. In 1879, at the age of seven, he was taken with his two elder brothers to England for education and lived there for fourteen years. Brought up at first in an English family at Manchester, he joined St. Pauls School in London in 1884 and in 1890 went from it with a senior classical scholarship to Kings College, Cambridge, where he studied for two years.

Sri Aurobindo passed thirteen years, from 1893 to 1906, in the Baroda Service, first in the Revenue Department and in secretariat work for the Maharaja, afterwards as Professor of English and, finally, Vice-Principal in the Baroda College. [. . .] A great part of the last years of this period was spent on leave in silent political activity, for he was debarred from public action by his position at Baroda. The outbreak of the agitation against the partition of Bengal in 1905 gave him the opportunity to give up the Baroda Service and join openly in the political movement. He left Baroda in 1906 and went to Calcutta as Principal of the newly-founded Bengal National College.

The political action of Sri Aurobindo covered eight years, from 1902 to 1910. During the first half of this period he worked behind the scenes, preparing with other co-workers the beginnings of the Swadeshi (Indian Sinn Fein) movement, till the agitation in Bengal furnished an opening for the public initiation of a more forward and direct political action than the moderate reformism which had till then been the creed of the Indian National Congress. [. . .] Sri Aurobindo hoped to capture the Congress and make it the directing centre of an organised national action, an informal State within the State, which would carry on the struggle for freedom till it was won.

Sri Aurobindo was prosecuted for sedition in 1907 and acquitted. Up till now an organiser and writer, he was obliged by this event and by the imprisonment or disappearance of other leaders to come forward as the acknowledged head of the party in Bengal and to appear on the platform for the first time as a speaker. He presided over the Nationalist Conference at Surat in 1907 where in the forceful clash of two equal parties the Congress was broken to pieces. In May, 1908, he was arrested in the Alipur Conspiracy Case as implicated in the doings of the revolutionary group led by his brother Barindra; but no evidence of any value could be established against him and in this case too he was acquitted. After a detention of one year as undertrial prisoner in the Alipur Jail, he came out in May, 1909, to find the party organisation broken, its leaders scattered by imprisonment, deportation or self-imposed exile and the party itself still existent but dumb and dispirited and incapable of any strenuous action. For almost a year he strove single-handed as the sole remaining leader of the Nationalists in India to revive the movement. He published at this time to aid his effort a weekly English paper, theKarmayogin, and a Bengali weekly, theDharma. But at last he was compelled to recognise that the nation was not yet sufficiently trained to carry out his policy and programme. [. . .] Moreover, since his twelve months detention in the Alipur Jail, which had been spent entirely in the practice of Yoga, his inner spiritual life was pressing upon him for an exclusive concentration. He resolved therefore to withdraw from the political field, at least for a time.

In February, 1910, he withdrew to a secret retirement at Chandernagore and in the beginning of April sailed for Pondicherry in French India. [. . .]

During all his stay at Pondicherry from 1910 [until his passing in 1950 he] remained more and more exclusively devoted to his spiritual work and his sadhana. In 1914 after four years of silent Yoga he began the publication of a philosophical monthly, theArya. Most of his more important works [. . .] appeared serially in theArya. These works embodied much of the inner knowledge that had come to him in his practice of Yoga. [. . .] TheAryaceased publication in 1921 after six years and a half of uninterrupted appearance.

Sri Aurobindo lived at first in retirement at Pondicherry with four or five disciples. Afterwards more and yet more began to come to him to follow his spiritual path and the number became so large that a community of sadhaks had to be formed for the maintenance and collective guidance of those who had left everything behind for the sake of a higher life. This was the foundation of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram which has less been created than grown around him as its centre.

Sri Aurobindo began his practice of Yoga in 1905. At first gathering into it the essential elements of spiritual experience that are gained by the paths of divine communion and spiritual realisation followed till now in India, he passed on in search of a more complete experience uniting and harmonising the two ends of existence, Spirit and Matter. Most ways of Yoga are paths to the Beyond leading to the Spirit and, in the end, away from life; Sri Aurobindos rises to the Spirit to redescend with its gains bringing the light and power and bliss of the Spirit into life to transform it. [. . .] It is possible by opening to a greater divine consciousness to rise to this power of light and bliss, discover ones true self, remain in constant union with the Divine and bring down the supramental Force for the transformation of mind and life and body. To realise this possibility has been the dynamic aim ofSri Aurobindos Yoga.

Written by Sri Aurobindo. Edited material marked by brackets. From the booklet,Sri Aurobindo and his Ashram, pp. 2-6, published in 1983 by theSri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry.

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Sri Aurobindo Sri Aurobindo Sadhana Peetham

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October 11th, 2020 at 5:54 pm

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Portraits of the persecuted – Deccan Herald

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In a special introduction to mark the 20th anniversary of her iconic book The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India (1998), author Urvashi Butalia wrote, All the questions that remain alive today how citizenship is defined, how the State relates to its citizens, what a relationship of trust means, how refugees are defined and understood, how many of our cities have developed, the lands they took in, the settlements that were built and so much more find resonance in that violent founding moment.

These questions cannot be dismissed as the idle preoccupations of scholars raking up the past to problematise what is done and dusted. They are intimately connected to questions of survival. Delhi-based photographer Anuj Arora (27) realised this when he began working on a photography project to document the lives of Rohingya muslims, one of the most persecuted communities in the world, living in refugee camps in and around Delhi-NCR. It struck a personal chord because his grandparents were Partition refugees who fled Lahore in 1947.

Having grown up on his grandparents stories, Arora could readily empathise with the experiences of the Rohingyas. They were forced to leave behind their homes in the Rakhine state of Myanmar and find shelter wherever they could. Many of them escaped genocide and came to Delhi. During his research for a diploma project on documentary photography at the Sri Aurobindo Centre for Arts and Communication, Arora learnt that they reside in four main areas Shaheen Bagh, Madanpur Khadar, Okhla and Vikaspuri. Titled Unsettled Identities, his series of photographs is now being showcased on a digital platform curated by the Prameya Art Foundation. It is an intimate record of their everyday experiences.

A mother combs a childs hair. Children huddle together and read. Family photographs and identity documents are tightly held on to. A bonfire provides warmth on a cold night. Youngsters play with abandon. A father looks lovingly at his child. Some are immersed in their cellphones; others rest on the ground and stare at the sky above. Arora says,Delhi has been a place of shelter for migrant communities from Sindh, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Jamaica, Myanmar, Bangladesh and many other parts of the world. I wanted to focus on Rohingya Muslims because they have lived amidst us for decades, but we know so little. They face linguistic and cultural barriers and problems related to education, housing and employment.

Earning trust

Just being curious was not enough. Arora had to earn the trust of the community leaders. They wanted to understand why he was interested in their lives. It occurred to him that the Rohingyas in these refugee camps live in a state of constant fear, so it was natural for them to be on their guard. Arora says,They wake up each morning and check on what is happening in Myanmar. They migrated because of ethnic cleansing, but there is a lot of sentimental value attached to their memories. They are not only worried about themselves, but also about relatives in Myanmar since the verification forms used in India ask them to mention addresses and contact details of those people.

Building a relationship was important. Once they warmed up to Arora, he was invited to meals and became a regular recipient of their hospitality. While interacting with them, he found a lot of tender moments to capture. Soon, he decided to shoot the entire series in black and white and shades of grey, in order to reflect the mood in the refugee camps most accurately. The children who gathered around him wanted to learn how to use the camera, so he also conducted some informal photography workshops and encouraged them to practise the craft.

Bearing witness

Arora believes that official documents and school history textbooks usually focus on the hard facts. They do not reflect the feelings of refugees and the hardship they go through. Each person, and every family, has numerous stories to tell. Nobody can predict when the wounds will heal, if they do so at all, but what artists can do is bear witness. We cannot take away the pain that they have gone through, but we can sit there and listen as they speak, remarks Arora.

Spending time with them brought up questions about what his own grandparents must have encountered when the carnage in 1947 made them pack up their bags and migrate to the Indian side of Punjab, from where they moved to refugee camps in Delhi. Arora wonders whether they too felt out of place all their lives, while trying to adjust to a new homeland and feels grateful that they survived despite everything that they lost. His photographs are also, in a sense, a tribute to their resilient spirit.

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Portraits of the persecuted - Deccan Herald

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October 11th, 2020 at 5:54 pm

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Modi Has Learnt Art of Good Governance from Shivaji & Sayaji, and Now World Leaders are Learning from… – News18

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File photo: Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, on September 27, 2019. (REUTERS/Brendan Mcdermid)

Narendra Modi has completed 19 years as a top administrator and his journey from being a chief minister to a prime minister has entered its 20th year, making him a rare personality in Indian politics. After spending around a little less than 13 years in Gujarat as CM, he has been the PM of the country since May 2014. The question is, from whom does Modi who has inspired many world leaders draw inspiration? The list is long.

On October 7, 2001, Modi entered the world of administration. Before that, he was a Pracharak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) since 1971. After spending three decades in the Sangh as a Pracharak, also serving as the BJP's central organisational secretary, Modi became the chief minister of Gujarat after Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani seconded his name.

Modi had no administrative experience before he took over as the CM of Gujarat. The only expertise that he had was the organisational skills which he had in abundance and he used them in bringing people together, to strengthen the party and making new experiments in politics. When Modi became the chief minister, he did not even have the experience of running a panchayat. At that time, he had not even fought an assembly election. It is another matter though that he had played a major role in getting the BJP to power in 1995 in Gujarat. He had also headed the BJP campaign committee in the 1998 Gujarat assembly elections to pave the way for the party's victory. Apart from this, he had already impressed his party with his work in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and other states.

But till then he had no hands-on administrative experience and he accepted this while chairing a meeting with top officials of Gujarat after he became CM. Modi had his task cut out for him. In post-earthquake Gujarat, relief and rehabilitation was a major challenge and the administration was facing a slew of criticism. His predecessor Keshubhai Patel had to leave the post for this reason. Before this, the BJP had lost crucial panchayat, assembly and Lok Sabha polls.

Narendra Modi took the reins of the administration and responded with the speed of someone attempting to win a one-day match that turned into a marathon test innings which has lasted 19 years and is entering the 20th. Nobody knows when this innings is going to end neither his supporters nor his opponents, who have been outwitted by him on numerous occasions in poll battles.

Over the past 19 years, much has been written all over the world about his administrative style. As chief minister, he had developed the 'Gujarat model of development' and popularised it across the country; it got him elected to Parliament and helped him become the Prime Minister. His was the first non-Congress government in 2014 to have full majority. After that, he led his party to victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as well and was rewarded by the electorate with an even greater majority. His government is going to last till 2024, and, be it the public or pundits, no one is giving the opposition a chance before 2029. So how long Modi's administrative period lasts will be either decided by the man himself or the people of this country.

Now the question is who inspired Modi to become such an efficient administrator? Who are those people from whom he learnt the tricks of the trade? Hundreds of books have been written on Modi but no one has dealt with this issue at length.

Modi has given ample indication about this on several occasions. The first glimpse was in 2014, when he was filing his nomination from Vadodara for the general elections. That year, he had filed his nomination first from Vadodara before doing so from Varanasi. At that time, on April 9, 2014, when he was speaking to the media in Vadodara, it offered an insight into his inspiration as an administrator.

Vadodara, once a model of development and administrative acumen, was ruled by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III, in whose name the city is also called Sayaji Nagari. Modi remembered Sayajirao that day, heaping praise on him, and not just as a mere formality.

Modi said that to know about Sayajirao's skills in administration and self-governance, one should read the book Minor Hints. It surprised not just the media persons but also millions of people watching and listening to him on TV at the time. They wanted to know what was this 'Minor Hints' and why was Modi waxing eloquent about Sayajirao?

'Minor Hints' is a collection of speeches which was given to a 12-year-old boy Gopal, born on March 11, 1863, in Kavlana village of Maharashtra, in his preparation to become the ruler of the kingdom of Baroda. Gopal was adopted by the ruler of this kingdom, Maharaja Khanderao Gaekwad, from a distant relative, Kashiram Gaekwad. After the death of Khanderao, his widow, Maharani Jamnabai, adopted the boy on May 27, 1875.

Gopal was taught the royal ways before he could be placed on the throne and about 150 speeches delivered by experts and senior officials were part of that education process. Of these, 46 speeches were delivered by the-then diwan T Madhava Rao, which formed the book 'Minor Hints'. This book is famous as Shasan Sutra in Gujarati and is revered like the Gita in the administration and is gifted to officials at the beginning of their career.

T Madhava Rao had trained Sayajirao Gaekwad and had taught him all the practical aspects of the administration which included how an administrator should behave, how he should keep himself away from sycophants and how to spend day and night thinking about ones subjects. Madhava Rao himself was a very talented man and was rightly given the title of Raja. He told Sayajirao that flatterers try to surround every administrator and they tell the king that the nation is made for him and not that he is made for the nation. In that situation, a king immediately thinks that administration is his paternal right and he considers his subjects as nothing. Madhava Rao had warned Sayajirao about this and told him not to behave irresponsibly as his responsibilities were immense. He also told him that the ultimate aim of an administrator was to keep his subjects happy.

With such education and training, Gopal was made the ruler of the kingdom when he was 18 years old and he was given the royal name of Sayajirao Gaekwad III. He ruled for 58 years and died in 1939. In his lengthy career as an administrator, he was known for caring about his subjects, and promoting reforms, scientific thinking, development of basic infrastructure, empowerment of women, education, etc. There are many famous stories about his patriotism. In 1911, he did not bow before the King of England who presided as the Emperor of India in the Delhi darbar and helped Sri Aurobindo and other revolutionaries and freedom fighters, risking British displeasure.

That Sayajirao Gaekwad has been an inspiration for Modi was apparent on several other occasions. During his first tenure as PM, when Modi was taking part in a discussion in the Rajya Sabha on women's education, he had mentioned Sayaji. Modi had said that in the reign of Sayajirao Gaekwad, not a single woman was illiterate, though some instances could be found after his rule. That's how much emphasis Sayajirao put on women's education.

Even Narendra Modi knew this from experience. His native place Vadnagar, where he was born, was previously in Mehsana which was under the Gaekwad kingdom. The school and its library where Modi read innumerable books were opened during the reign of Sayajirao Gaekwad III. Modi was born just 11 years after Gaekwad's death and it was but natural that people still talked about Sayaji. When Modi grew up, he came to know about the many talents of the king.

Modi also praised Sayajirao Gaekwad when he participated in his 150th birth anniversary celebrations in 2012 in Vadodara. In his speech, Modi had said that he comes from a place which has been part of the Gaekwad administration and even today every auspicious work is started in Sayajirao's name. Modi said that after being born in an ordinary family, brought up in a royal household and taking charge of the kingdom of Baroda at 18, Sayaji's work in administrative reforms continues to find resonance among the people 70 years after his death.

Obviously, Modi has not only read 'Minor Hints' very minutely but has also been inspired by Sayajiraos life and regime which he has adopted in his own life. After his early days as a Pracharak in Vadodara to becoming the CM in 2001 and as PM of the country for the past 6 years, he has always given the impression that his sole aim is to serve the people of this country. And that is why he has presented himself not as the Prime Minister but as the Pradhan Sevak of the citizens.

In his run as CM and PM over 19 years, Modi has ensured that benefits of government schemes reach the lowest strata of the society. His policies have been framed keeping in mind the situation of the disadvantaged people. That is why, in Gujarat, after taking over as CM, he kept tribal people, fishermen, Dalits and backward communities at the centre of his planning. After he became PM, he ensured that policies are framed to help women, farmers and the poorest of the poor in the country, and that is why today he is the darling of the masses.

Sycophants have not been able to surround him and he has kept himself connected with the people. That is why, Modi, today, is available to everyone. He always knows what is happening on the ground. Out of Delhi, he visits the hinterland, stays in touch with the people and their problems, and solves these issues. Not a single day goes by without him meeting the common people.

During Parliament sessions, people from all over the country come to meet him: from poor fishermen to ordinary farmers. He finds time for everyone but does not waste even a second. He is punctual and understands the value of time. He never takes leaves and works for 18-19 hours every day. It is obvious that his opponents today can neither match his energy nor his willpower. Rivals appear like stray clouds. After a bit of thunder and lightning, they quickly disappear to Thailand, Europe or America .

Modi is still a mystery for his political rivals. When he came into the administration, he did not have practical knowledge to run it. He was taught the intricacies of administration by IAS officer PK Mishra. Modi had appointed him his principal secretary in 2001 just after he took oath as CM. Modi himself has talked about how Mishra helped him in administration, and taught him the pros and cons.

Modi had so much faith in Mishra that after he retired as agriculture secretary during the UPA administration, Modi appointed him as chairman of the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission and then made him chairman of Gujarat Institute of Disaster Management. From there, he came straight to Delhi when Modi became PM in 2014. Mishra was made his additional principal secretary. Since then, PK Mishra has continuously been with him and now in Modi's second term, he occupies the post of principal secretary and helps the PM formulate important policy decisions.

Modi has always tried to learn new things in the past two decades, from teachers at IIM Ahmedabad to eminent jurist VR Krishna Iyer whom he met by visiting Kerala. He has always been a learner which has helped him in becoming an efficient administrator. That is precisely why leaders from across the country and the world are trying to pick up tips from him on how to be a good administrator, have a finger on the pulse of the people and try innovations in governance for public welfare.

From CM to PM, the list of his experiments is long and they are part of hundreds of books and lakhs of articles. Yet Modi, who once learnt from Sayajirao Gaekwad, is still learning and trying new things. With his newly grown beard, some people see a glimpse of Shivaji in him. After all, Modi is constantly striving to realise the dream to implement the Hindavi Swarajya philosophy of this great patriot. Modi has a special fondness for the mega play based on Shivaji's life called Janata Raja and had seen it many decades ago and ensured its public enactment in every part of Gujarat when he was CM there. Modi has not stopped learning and that too when other world leaders are vying to learn the intricacies of administration from him.

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Modi Has Learnt Art of Good Governance from Shivaji & Sayaji, and Now World Leaders are Learning from... - News18

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October 11th, 2020 at 5:54 pm

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Coronavirus | Indore remains worst hit in Madhya Pradesh with 3 more deaths – The Hindu

Posted: May 12, 2020 at 7:42 am

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Madhya Pradesh on Friday recorded 89 new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, taking the State-wide tally to 3,341, the Directorate of Health Services said. The death toll in the State from the pandemic rose to 200, as seven more fatalities were reported including three from the worst-affected city of Indore.

State-wise tracker for COVID-19 cases, deaths and testing, and a map of confirmed cases in India

With 1,727 cases and 86 deaths, Indore continues to remain in focus. Alarmingly, the count of critical patients in the city surged threefold overnight earlier this week from 52 on May 4 to 195 on May 5 and was at 197 on Friday. As many as 663 patients, however, have recovered from the illness in the city so far.

Bhopal, by comparison, has so far reported 679 cases and 24 deaths, with 354 patients, or more than half of those infected, having recovered.

Among the fatalities reported on Friday, two were in Bhopal and one each in Ujjain and Jabalpur, according to a bulletin issued by the Directorate.

In Ujjain, 43 patients, or 20% of all those infected, have succumbed to the respiratory illness. The number of cases in the city stand at 220, and recoveries at 57.

In order to relieve the burden on a private medical college in the city, Ujjains only COVID-19 facility, the State government has reserved 100 beds at the Sri Aurobindo Institute of Medical Sciences (SAIMS), which is the largest COVID-19 hospital in neighbouring Indore district.

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Coronavirus | Indore remains worst hit in Madhya Pradesh with 3 more deaths - The Hindu

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May 12th, 2020 at 7:42 am

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